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Economics

What is the sunk, or stranded, cost?

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Question 1:

In Chapter 5 of Managerial Economics, Froeb discusses post-investment holdup as a sunk cost problem associated with contract-specific fixed investments. The modern theory of contracts is sometimes called the theory of joining wills, which simply means when parties make an agreement they are joining together to complete an endeavor of mutual interest. The problem with all contracts that endure over time is that not all potential challenges can be anticipated. The idea of joining wills is that parties will attempt to seek accommodations to advance their mutual interest, so long as the return on the invested activity pays off. Froeb illustrates the idea by the example of marriage as a contract.
Also see the help provided in the discussion preparation.
Instructions
Review the three scenarios below. Look for which, if any, of these scenarios presents an example of post-investment holdup.
Your firm conducted a search for a new chief financial officer and hired a highly qualified candidate with a yearly salary of $250,000. After six months, the person left to join another firm.
Your firm has an exclusive contract to assemble automobile seats for a number of luxury models. Almost 100% of the materials are imported and, of those, over 50% include parts manufactured in China. All of the prices on the parts from China increased by 25% when the United States imposed tariffs on China. Your company has informed all of its customers that increased cost must be passed on for your firm to continue supplying the seats. All of your customers reluctantly agreed to pay the additional cost.
Your company took note of your progress toward your MBA, and when the director for customer services left the company, you were asked to take over as interim director. You were encouraged to apply for the full-time position once you got your MBA. You served for 13 months, at which time your company was acquired by another company and your position was abolished.
In your discussion post, address the following:
Identify which of the above scenarios, if any, are an example of post-investment holdup.
Choose one of the scenarios above. Define the following and explain each within the context of the chosen scenario:
What is the sunk, or stranded, cost?
What is the contract?
Was the contract breached?
What are the damages?
Question 2:
The focus of this discussion is on understanding the differences between economies of scale and economies of scope. What are the key differences? Use these concepts to determine whether gains from economies of scale or gains from economies of scope were the principal reason behind a merger or acquisition.
Also see the help provided in the discussion preparation.
Instructions
Select one of the mergers and acquisitions below. Consider whether the merger/acquisition was about scope or scale economies.
Sirius XM acquired Pandora.
The acquisition of Credit Karma by Intuit.
The merger of Strayer University and Capella University to form SEI.
For your chosen case, address the following in your discussion post:
Explain how economies of scale and scope differ.
Describe how growth in the case you selected is created from either an economy of scope or scale.
Quesion 3:
In this week’s discussion you assume the role of CEO of a company. In anticipation of the upcoming quarterly disclosure of profits, you prepare your Board of Directors for the pressure that cost-push inflation is having on profits. There will be some erosion of profits.
Also see the help provided in the discussion preparation.
Instructions
For this discussion, assume the role of CEO of one of the following hypothetical companies:
All America Grocery Inc. We serve communities in the middle of the income market, providing low prices for all basic grocery needs. Our modest-income consumers expect good deals on good quality foods. The Covid-19 pandemic has put upward pressure on the price of everything we sell. Cost-push inflation from multiple sources is impacting our operating cost and our cost of goods. We are both fortunate and unfortunate that the price elasticity of demand for food is .20.
Very Big US Auto. Very Big US Auto is one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of autos in the United States. Very Big US Auto has an international supply chain and is highly dependent on components manufactured abroad and assembled in the United States. Costs are rising on all aspects of production across the industry. Very Big US Auto is seeing inflationary pressure in everything we use: labor, materials, components, and computer chips. On the demand side, Very Big US Auto knows that demand is relatively elastic with a price elasticity of demand of 1.2. But we also know that the pandemic has made some transportation substitutes less acceptable.
Big Time Entertainment. Big Time Entertainment is a nationwide firm providing movies, concerts, arcades, and other in-person entertainment venues such as bowling and roller skating. Our operations have been heavily impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic, including continuing limits on number of guests and new costs associated with safety measures for both staff and customers. We are now reopening but facing a continued cost-push inflation. We also face uncertainty as to the potential for additional shutdowns. Customers are fearful, and the guidance on operating our facilities means we are operating far below our optimal number of patrons to cover the higher cost of everything. Price elasticity of demand is 1.6, and we are also faced with competition from online entertainment and gaming, which are not experiencing many of these cost pressures.
In your discussion post, address the following prompts within the context of your chosen hypothetical company of which you are the CEO:
Is the demand curve for your product relatively elastic, inelastic, or unitary elastic? Demonstrate this for your company’s product by how much the quantity demanded will change if you pass on the 10% increase in cost. In other words, prepare a forecast showing by what percentage the quantity demanded will change if your prices are raised by 10%. You must provide calculations showing the percentage change in quantity demanded.
Will you pass on most or all of the cost increase to your customers? Why or why not?

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